Conference

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B. Questions to be addressed at the seminar

The overall question to be addressed at the seminar is whether, and if so, how can polities develop / engineer through constitutional and democratic processes a political will conducive to, or supportive of constitutionalism: that is, genuine democracy; limited government through the separation of powers and enforcement of a bill of rights; the rule of law rather than arbitrary rule; and development rather than self-enrichment?

The key themes to be examined include:

  1. Making multiparty democracy work in Africa
  • African concepts of democracy and multipartyism
  • AU and regional instruments on democracy
  • Multiparty elections as a peace-making device or consequence of peace?
  • Democratising traditional leadership
  1. Conceptualising a more effective role for the international community to promoting democracy
  • Conditionality of elections for regime recognition and foreign aid
  • Role and impact of international election observer missions
  1. Enhancing the role political parties in making democracy to work
  • Political party regulation in constitutions and/or legislation; the objects of such regulation: ensuring non-ethnicity and nation-building?
  • Internal party democracy and transparency
  • Policy competition or patrimonial politics (who will be next at the trough of state largesse)
  1. Designing electoral systems that reflect the popular will
  • Majoritarian vs proportional systems in practice
  • Consociational models of electoral politics for peace-building
  1. Enhancing democratic quality of elections through electoral processes
  • Independent electoral commissions: functioning and failings
  • Levelling the playing fields: the use of the state machinery during elections
  • Adjudicating electoral disputes – the judiciary
  • Institutional infrastructure for informed competitive politics –a free media and civil society
  1. Promoting inclusive and participatory democracy
  • Direct democracy, including referenda
  • Processes and practices of participatory democracy at national and local levels
  • Participatory budget formation

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